Rock ‘n’ Roll

Rock ‘n’ Roll is one of Stoppard’s most ambitious works. The play is set in the politically charged years between the demise of Czeckoslovakia’s Prague Spring in the late 1960s and the Velvet Revolution, which two decades later signaled the end of Communist reign. Rock ‘n’ Roll uses the philosophical conflicts between Marxism and democracy to explore larger, more personal topics. The relationships between generations and the changing value systems which inform them plays into the mother-daughter dynamics between Eleanor and Esme and later between Esme and Alice. Jan’s record collection serves as a reminder of the power of art to challenge oppression and champion freedom of expression. And Max must face the ongoing tension between his intellectual investigation of political thought and the realities which that investigation sometimes ignores realities embodied in the people he loves. Stoppard accomplishes all of this with his signature wit, erudition and theatricality, informed by a wellspring of character emotions that are nearly overwhelming in their immediacy and depth. As the characters face life, love and loss the audience is transported across continents and years, but Rock ‘n’ Roll is bound by the reverberating chords of electric guitars. A play that begins in 1968 as a stranger serenades a young girl from atop a garden wall ends in 1990 at the Rolling Stones’ first concert in Prague.

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